I felt like I was performing monologues

Hi Meredith,

I've been out of a relationship for about a month now. My ex broke up with me over vague incompatibilities. Every since, I've been asking myself this question: What should I be looking to get out of a relationship? More precisely, what should I be looking to get from a relationship and what should I be looking to get from outside of it?

For example, I would often share something I found interesting with her – in hopes of sparking a discussion about it. But she never seemed to engage with me. She wouldn't ask me any further questions or show any curiosity. This always left me feeling like I was performing a monologue, so I would end up just shutting myself up. It left me wondering if this type of stuff is best left to discussions with friends. I'd chalk it up to just being part of her personality, but I feel this is a common problem I've had with dating, too. It's led me to question whether I have unrealistic expectations of conversation in a relationship.

– curiously confused

In theory, you should be able to talk to your significant other about things that interest you. Some of the best relationships are built on the kind of talks that can last all night and go nowhere. If it's a challenge to engage with your partner about, well, anything, you're in the wrong relationship.

Of course, if this is becoming a pattern, and you've experienced this lack of engagement with multiple romantic interests, here are some questions to consider:

1. Are you always monologuing? If so, have you asked enough questions of the person who's sharing your time? Think about how you engage your dates. How much have you focused on them?

2. Are these topics organic at all? I mean, it's great to talk about some article you read or topic you're curious about, but sometimes conversation can come from what's happening in the room. Like, the quality of the food you're eating. Or the weather. Or the music. It can be nice to share an experience, as opposed to hearing about an issue.

3. Is the topic something that is better shared with friends? People here know that I can talk about my love of vampire movies and TV shows all day. But I try to save that talk for the three people in my life who care. You do have to get a sense of what is making a date tune out and why.

4. Are you comfortable with silence? Sometimes quiet is good. There's an intimacy that comes with being able to sit in a room with someone and not talk at all. If you feel like you're in a lull, think about whether you can take a deep breath and enjoy.

– Meredith

Readers? Are there conversations you save for friends?